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Wayward Side :
When Has Price Been Paid for Infidelity

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 DiscoBiscuit (original poster new member #80313) posted at 6:54 AM on Thursday, May 12th, 2022

First time poster.

WS. 38yo M. BS 39yo F. Married in 2010. In relationship since 2001.

EA 2020-early 2022.

D-day by confession 20 March.

BS is devastated. I am broken.

Since D-Day:

BS announced we are 'separated' (on D-Day) but subsequently re-invited me into the marital bed and we were having sex within days.

Subsequently:

WS publically shamed (local and social media)
WS physically and verbally abused
BS engaged escort within 1 week (no sex?)
BS starts interacting with other men on dating apps
BS does not hide this and frequently makes WS aware.
BS basically makes a porno and gets catfished
WS provides empathic and compassionate response
BS announced she is off the apps and no longer in contact with any matches

Marriage counselling commences

WS learns that BS is still in contact with and is arranging liaisons with multiple men

WS confronts BS about planned actions before they happen.

BS says it's okay because were 'separated' and that she's done nothing wrong (unlike me)

"It's not about revenge" says BS

In earlier conversations lines such as these have been dropped....

"I can't let you get away with this"
"You must be shown that this is not okay"
"My biggest regret in life is committing to you too early"

I noticed a love bite on BS neck yesterday. She's been with someone else.

She has left she says (so her actions are ok) but she still wants to get back with me.when she's done 'healing'

She's now proposing we go 'monogamish' for 3 months and then look at going back to monogamy and marriage counselling after that. In counselling she says we will work through my affair and see if forgiveness can be granted.

----------

Our marriage counsellor has told me to get out of what she thinks is an emotionally abusive relationship.

I can't help but feel that BS is simply vengeful and forgiveness is unlikely.

My question is, at what point have I 'paid the price' for my infidelity and when can I look at self forgiveness?

posts: 2   ·   registered: May. 12th, 2022   ·   location: Australia
id 8734816
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WalkinOnEggshelz ( Administrator #29447) posted at 12:05 PM on Thursday, May 12th, 2022

Hello and welcome to SI.

First of all, you need to get out of the mindset that there is a price that you are paying and when the price has been paid, you are clear of debt. Infidelity is not a jail term or debt, it is a deep trauma that requires a Herculean amount of heavy lifting to work through.

I recommend that you both get into individual counseling before even considering marriage counseling. You need to figure out why you felt having an affair was a viable option for you and she needs to understand her reaction to it and how to learn some healthy coping mechanisms for the trauma she is experiencing.

Most of your post is about her behavior in reaction to your affair. That is behavior you have very little control over. What you can do, however is gain control of yourself. Heal yourself. What have you done to work through this other than offer her compassion? I suggest reading How to Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair by Linda J McDonald. It is an easy read but a goldmine.

Only you can decide when enough is enough, but either way you should be doing the work on yourself. Figure out what went wrong and make the changes to be a better person. Until you start doing that, it’s all just chaos.

Me: WS late 40’s
Him: BH (HoldingTogether)
D Day: 7/24/2010
If you keep asking people to give you the benefit of the doubt, they will eventually start to doubt your benefit.

posts: 15116   ·   registered: Aug. 27th, 2010   ·   location: Texas
id 8734829
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MIgander ( member #71285) posted at 3:20 PM on Thursday, May 12th, 2022

Hi DiscoBiscuit,

I'm sorry you're here. You guys are what's known as Mad Hatters (MH). You had an affair (EA) and she goes on a rampage having revenge PA's. Your post hits very close to home to me, and I am going to write something straight to the point, but not intended to be unkind. Candid, but not unkind. It's the kind of advice I got early on when I first got here.

EA's to betrayed women are as severe a gut punch as PA's are to betrayed men.

She is emotionally and PHYSICALLY abusing you.

You emotionally abused her first.

First things first, you guys need separate beds. While she's sleeping around like this, you can't be putting yourself at risk for STD's. Get tested. Separate beds- it's too easy for sleeping in the same bed platonically to move to snuggling to lead to sex. You can't have sex with her right now. IT IS UNSAFE FOR YOUR HEALTH.

You decided to go behind your wife's back and give the emotional intimacy and support to another woman. This intimacy and support rightfully belong to your wife. You stole that from her. Why? Why was it difficult for you to be vulnerable to her in the past? What made you shut her out to the point where you starved yourself so much you looked for the fast fix of an EA with a woman you're not accountable to? Those 2 years of emotional infidelity are years that could have been spent fixing your M.

My BH was in an EA before my exit A with a COW. We're still together and trying for R. I can understand very deeply what your wife is going through emotionally. Only... I chose to sleep with one man instead of many. Neither A's were justified.

Before his EA and my A, I had begged for MC. For years, BH refused. Instead of fixing it, he decided to give his emotional energy to another woman- a "friend." BH said, when asked by our MC, whether he'd eventually have got counseling, "Yeah, I would have eventually sought out MC." I still call BULLSHIT on that. He had years to join me in something I desperately wanted.

What about you? Did your wife want MC? Did your wife want to work on the M before your affair? Were there signs of mutual unhappiness? If so, you're responsible for not getting your hands dirty and joining her in the work as a team. Perhaps instead of choosing the hard route of emotional work, you chose to go for the easy nothingburger of an emotional A with a woman who didn't have to do your laundry, change your kids' diapers and manage finances with you. That woman was NOTHING to you, meanwhile, your BW was giving her entire life's work (probably imperfectly) to you while you went for the cheap feels of easy validation.

Look, your therapist is right, your wife is emotionally and physically abusing you. Those are her decisions and hers to own. She could have D'd you if your EA was devastating enough for her to be unhinged at this level. The fact that her response has been this persistent and this extreme implies she has a lot of work to do on herself. Separating out HER work from YOUR work is the 2nd step of this process. The first step is to separate physically your sleeping spaces.

WOEZ is right- you both need IC before any MC can happen.

Your wife also needs to stop sleeping around NOW. You do have to right to decide to S right now based on her actions alone. Yes, your EA is incredibly devastating and harmful and destructive. However, the way your wife is behaving is UNSAFE, UNHEALTHY and PHYSICALLY ABUSIVE. If she's unwilling to stop her sleeping around, you have your answer- there's nothing to work with and you need to S at minimum.

Do you have kids? If so, your wife is also a danger to them. She is recklessly inviting complete strangers (MEN) into your lives with trolling these apps looking for quick NSA sex. There's no way to tell if one of these men will abuse her or stalk you or intrude into your family life. Stranger things have happened.

For the sake of your physical safety and the safety of your kids, your wife needs to stop sleeping around NOW. If not, you have your answer and need to S for the time being. It's UNSAFE and unfair to you and the health and safety of your family.

WW Dday July 2019

posts: 656   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8734855
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BraveSirRobin ( Guide #69242) posted at 2:21 AM on Friday, May 13th, 2022

Hi, DB. Welcome to SI from a fellow madhatter.

One of the poor choices I made in the year after my first D-Day was treating betrayal like a mathematical equation. I reasoned that since my BH did such-and-such to me, and I did so-and-so to him, most of those acts cross-canceled each other out and left me with a much less egregious remainder. In reality, betrayal is additive. Every injury that you and your spouse inflict on each other just adds to the total pain that you both have to overcome.

To be honest, your BS doesn't sound like much of a prospect for reconciliation. There are members of SI who might make excuses for her behavior based on the deep trauma that you inflicted. Personally, when I say that there's no excuse for infidelity, I mean just that: no excuse, including being cheated on. If you're separated, does that mean you're as free as she is to sign up on dating sites and send nudes and display love marks on your neck? If not, you aren't separated. Your spouse is engaged in an involuntarily one-sided relationship, otherwise known as an affair. Undeniably, she's hurting, but plenty of hurt people preserve their integrity. She's accountable for her own actions in their entirety, and you are accountable for yours.

Regardless of whether you reconcile or divorce, you're in a permanent relationship with yourself. If you don't do the work to address why you entitled yourself to an EA, then why won't it happen again, tearing apart your relationships and leaving you bleating lame excuses at your departing ex-partner? Whatever reason you think you had, it's probably not the real reason. Nor is it a justification (again, there's no justification for cheating). But figuring it out will help you be a better person and a safer partner, and the benefits of an authentic life are well worth that effort.

WW/BW

posts: 2645   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8734962
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 DiscoBiscuit (original poster new member #80313) posted at 3:39 AM on Friday, May 13th, 2022

Thank you for your input.

You have both made very valuable suggestions and I have given me much food for thought.

WOEz:

Interesting perspective on infidelity as a trauma. I agree, it is a trauma - likely the deepest trauma that anybody endures in their life. I will never forget what I have done and the impact it is/has/will have.

I have immersed myself in infidelity recovery resources. I have already read Linda's book and honestly had self-initiated most of what is outlined. It has been very valuable.

Our spouses are not alone. There are so many stories of success and failure out there that you can see what the patterns of successful healing and recovery are. Each relationship has its nuances, but there are patterns.

The stories of success rarely feature a BS taking the route of justice/balance/vengeance. I do not believe that my wife has looked into any of the material I have shared with her.

She has a chorus of supporters telling her that the path to healing is self-discovery and personal growth......via sex with many different men. None of them are suggesting non-sexual self care, taking time out for non-sexual activities, etc. It is evident none of these people have healed from their own relationship traumas.

Our marriage counsellor is a success story of infidelity healing. She doesn't just preach it, she's actually lived it - on both sides. She reached out to my wife to go through things on a more individual level first, acknowledging the betrayal trauma, and my wife simply said "You can't help me." The counsellor, with over 20yrs experience, has said that she has not ever had a client as contemptuous of the process as my wife barf

My wife insists that she needs time and space. I can understand this. She is getting some IC but it's early days yet. Her need for affection is pathological. Just as is my need for appreciation and validation.

You are correct. It is simply chaos just now.


MIgander:

Thank you for your honesty. What you have said is not dissimilar from what the marriage counsellor, several individual counsellors and several of my "pro-relationship" friends have said.

I could write pages about our history to give an account of the relationship. We have had issues for several years. We had engaged in MC previously (she suggested, I agreed and found a counsellor). I don't feel like my wife engaged wholeheartedly and it didn't get us very far before it was interrupted by COVID-19. My wife has expressed in recent weeks many grievances with our relationship that preceed my betrayal and the first round of MC, so I'm not sure why she couldn't have brought them up then. In these sessions I certainly expressed my concerns about our waning intimacy, increasing amount of stress upon me as the sole income earner and increasing debt, the household labour imbalance, and more. I didn't feel listened to and life just got in the way, as it had done so often before.

You are absolutely right. I chose the easy path. The nothing-burger. I chose fantasy. I am now however, and have been for over 6 months, emotionally detached from my AP. I have no regrets about ending the affair. My regret is that I chose it in the first place.

I have recommitted to my wife, and am willing to do whatever it takes to get us into a better relationship. I'm committed to complete honesty. I have offered access to all of my devices, emails, messaging apps. I am location sharing with Google Maps. I am trying. I am trying very, very hard.

My wife is not a bad person. She is a hurt person. Deeply so. I can understand why she feels as she does. I would feel the same way. I do know in some ways exactly how she feels now that the 'tables have been turned'. I'm hurting too. When I reach out to her, the usual response is "I'm resisting the want to make you feel better because this is not okay!"

Then she tells me that she DOES want to reconcile but only when she is ready, and she has 'healed'. I don't think we can heal individually. We need MC and I'm ready and willing. I've asked her to find the next MC because my previous choices have been met with disapproval. She feeds me crumbs of encouragement. The mixed messaging is tormenting me.


-----

So what am I doing about this situation?

I'm formalising the separation.

I am planning on getting my own place and taking 12 months out of my usual work for mental health purposes. I've been living out of a duffel bag for over 4 years (work-related, complicated) and it's time to create a stable and safe space for me, where I can be at my best for my kids.

posts: 2   ·   registered: May. 12th, 2022   ·   location: Australia
id 8734967
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MIgander ( member #71285) posted at 5:26 PM on Friday, May 13th, 2022

I do not believe that my wife has looked into any of the material I have shared with her.

She's not doing the work. Can lead a horse to water...

She has a chorus of supporters telling her that the path to healing is self-discovery and personal growth......via sex with many different men.

There's a finding that the 5 people you spend the most time with are the ones that predict your path in life. She's chosen negative, frankly perverted women who think the route to self discovery lies in a man's pants. This is so sad since it implies a woman's sense of self is tied solely to her sexuality. How minimizing and degrading is that? We are SO much more than our sexuality.

my wife simply said "You can't help me." The counsellor, with over 20yrs experience, has said that she has not ever had a client as contemptuous of the process as my wife

This is who she is right now. This is where she's at and she's not going to budge until SHE does the work for HERSELF. You don't have anything to work with, sadly.

so I'm not sure why she couldn't have brought them up then. In these sessions I certainly expressed my concerns about our waning intimacy, increasing amount of stress upon me as the sole income earner and increasing debt, the household labour imbalance, and more. I didn't feel listened to and life just got in the way, as it had done so often before.

Perhaps the stress of 4yrs on the road and raising kids as a essentially a single mom made her distant from you. I can imagine not wanting to rely on someone for emotional and physical support who is gone Mon-Fri away on a trip. It's too much sometimes to open up only to have to steel yourself for the separation. You're not at fault with the job, but I know a few people I've worked with over the years who strained (and really wrecked) their M's due to this very situation.

I have no regrets about ending the affair. My regret is that I chose it in the first place.

This is good progress to build off of.

I'm committed to complete honesty

This is good for yourself, just extend this thought from your marriage into all the other areas of your life. Radical honesty is hard to learn and do, but you will reap so many benefits from the skills you're learning now!

I don't think we can heal individually... She feeds me crumbs of encouragement. The mixed messaging is tormenting me.

When you talk about healing, do you mean healing the M? If so, yeah, you guys can't heal a relationship without both parties participating. However, right now, she's gaslighting you. She's one day gone and next day wants to be back. She either doesn't know her own mind (likely given the level of disorder she's in), or she's been planning an exit strategy for years and is going to lawyers behind your back. Stranger things have happened, and I'm not trying to be paranoid look , BUT, plenty of WS's have pretended to "R" only to blindside the BS with a D.

To prepare, ask the lawyer you're working with for the S to look into D'ing her and what to expect. This way, you're prepared for the worst. This will leave you free to hope for the best... if there's really any true hope here... which I don't think there is. Look up "hopium" on this site- it's been coined because pining for the other spouse to wake up and change their ways can be addicting when you're in a state of trauma. It's a form of magical thinking that can help you escape the torturous reality you're living. It's not healthy and can trap you in an untenable situation well past the length of time needed to confirm change is NOT COMING.

I'm formalising the separation... safe space for me, where I can be at my best for my kids.

This is the best thing you can do right now. She's lying to you about sleeping around, gaslighting you about fixing things and in general using you and taking you for a ride. Separating and getting her abuse out of your day-to-day life is the best way to heal right now. If you choose to D her, it will likely take a while (unless Australia is much different than the US?) and you can choose to halt the process. Many BS's have found S necessary to get through the trauma and learn to manage their PTSD from this experience.

Also, ask the lawyer if you can get primary custody- right now, she's sleeping around and there's no guarantee that she's not bringing her johns back home where the kids are sleeping. This is VERY UNSAFE for them. Strange men are VERY LIKELY to abuse children that are not their own. Especially those hitting puberty- the rates of sex abuse of children by their parent's boyfriends are very high (sorry guys, not ragging on men- just statistics show...). For their sake, you're the most stable parent right now and they're going to need you as an oasis of sanity. It's hard because you are the dad (unless Australia is much different than the US in this). Courts tend to give fathers the short end of the stick in terms of custody. Keeping records of your wife's sleeping around (journaling here on your observations and getting screen shots of her dating accounts) can help. Also think about recording your interactions with her, especially when you ask about her sleeping around. All this is evidence that she is acting irresponsibly and it's not in the kids' best interest to live with her.

You can hold the 2 truths about your wife's person- that she's got her own hurts and yet is hurting you. Hurt people hurt people. You can have empathy for her and continue to show her respect and what kindness you can (without harming yourself).
However, you can make the judgement call to exclude her from your life since she's an unsafe person. I think this is what the Bible says about not judging- that we're not to damn people to hell for their choices, but nor are we to tolerate their bullshit in our lives. We're supposed to call people out in loving ways, but we're not responsible for their continued misbehavior.

That was a bit of a novel- I tend to write those! Wishing you the best!

WW Dday July 2019

posts: 656   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8735156
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